Thursday, August 27, 2009

Stardut the Super-Wizard

For those of you who know what I'm talking about, I have started reading Golden Age reprints of Stardust the Super-Wizard. What's interesting is how much most people who know the character talk about how creepy he is. However, if one actually reads the stories he's a pretty standard super hero for the time. Sure, he kills his enemies in bizarre and degrading ways but so did a lot of super-heroes at the time. (Good examples are the Specter, Sampson, and the Quality Comics Ms. America). I think what a lot of creeps people out about the character is Fletcher Hank's distinctive art style. The villains are hideously ugly and the heroes proportions are all slightly off. This contributes to a sense of unease that permeates the story.
The second thing that creeps people out about Stardust is Fletcher Hank's tendency to introduce bizarre monsters into his story without any explanation whatsoever. I means at least the way the Specter dealt with his enemies made ironic sense. Stardust (and Hank's other creation, Fantomah) had a tendency to feed their enemies to creatures the literally came out of nowhere.

Stardust: I will turn you into a giant head and feed you to the Headless Headhunter, on of the most deadly creatures in the galaxy.
DeStructo: Wait, it this comic actually going to bother to explain that thing--?
Starburst: SILENCE, FOOL!

Without Hank's penchant for the bizarre, Stardust is just like any other Golden Age superhero: powerful and sadistic. However, Hank's truly put in the extra effort to make the adventures of Stardust that special brand of nightmare fuel that we all know and love.

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